To many, that question might sound like the kind of philosophical, thought-provoking question that might be asked in college-level public policy or US government course – but the answer is central to the Gay Marriage debate. The only legal argument that Gay Marriage proponents have on their side is one interpretation of the Equal Protection Clauses found in the US and State Constitutions. Those who support this interpretation argue that current marriage restrictions deny Gays the right to marry. But this argument only holds up if the primary purpose of our government is to make people happy and comfortable, rather than make the country stronger.
If the purpose of the government is, as I believe, to help promote and protect policies that help keep the country strong and prosperous (in this case, the kind of traditional marriages necessary to create and maintain the strong families our country needs), then the Equal Protection Clause is not violated by a ban on Gay Marriage – because, as strange as this may sound, it only prevents Gay Marriages, and not marriages involving Gays. Homosexuals are free to marry members of the opposite sex, and Heterosexuals are no more able to marry members of the same gender than Gays are. Although this may not satisfy their personal attractions, it is no more discriminatory than a drinking-age law that feels more restrictive to a teenager inclined to drink as opposed to, say, a teenager who’s religion forbids alcohol consumption.
It is only when an alternative theory of government, one that says it exists to make people happy and comfortable, is used that Marriage amendments and the Defense of Marriage Act appears to be illegal. Only if you believe that the Government recognizes marriage because it wants all its citizens to be happy (which it may, but what other policies demonstrate this view?), do you have a legitimate argument that Gay Marriage is protected under existing law – and thus a legitimate reason to attempt to circumvent or overrule the will of the people through the court system.
Of course the “happy and comfortable” argument has hidden dangers that even many advocated of Gay Marriage may not support. If the government exists to make people happy, rather than promote stable social bonds that provide a return benefit, then how do you deny marriage rights to others groups, such as those who want polygamy, sibling marriage, or even marriage to animals? Also, if the government is required to make sure people are happy and comfortable, what arguments are left against the kind of European Welfare that has done irreparable – or at least lasting – damage to the economies of the EU? Socialized medicine, cradle-to-grave welfare, unemployment to those who have no desire to seek work – all of those are just one bill in Congress away if the government is supposed to provide for the physical and emotional comfort of each individual citizen.
Gay-Rights Activists are, of course, free to push for new legislation to allow them to marry, but it is only through a twisted, and dangerous, interpretation of the Constitution that they are attempting to overrule our Democratic process and use the courts to impose a radical and unpopular change to what constitutes a family.